If you own an iOS device, chances are high that you’re deeply and irrevocably in love it. That said, you might still have the occasional peeves and irritations and wouldn’t mind a solution. If, at any point in the day, you feel like you could use a bigger keyboard and you happen to use a Mac, you can redirect your Mac keyboard to work on your iOS device. Admittedly, you won’t experience discomfort with an iPad’s on-screen keyboard, but typing on the iPhone’s keyboard isn’t always the easiest thing to do. 1Keyboard is a free Mac app that lets you use your Mac keyboard to type to your iOS device. It connects via Bluetooth and does not require an iOS client to be installed.
When you first launch the app, it will give you a three step process on your screen that you have to follow before a connection can be established. You will have to ensure the app has universal access, your Mac’s Bluetooth radio is turned on and set to Discoverable. You must also remove all past pairings between your Mac and iOS device and initiate a new pairing request from your mobile device. Once pairing is complete, the app will auto-detect and connect with it.
If you chose not to configure the device when it connects, you can always configure it from the menu bar. The app adds a 1KB icon to the menu bar, and you can view & configure all paired devices from it. Add a name for the paired device, select the type, add a shortcut that will allow you to quickly switch to the device when you use your keyboard, and select if you want to share just the keyboard or both keyboard and mouse.
When you type press the shortcut keys, your keyboard input is immediately transferred to the device associated with that shortcut. All keyboard functions on your Mac are suspended. Hit the Escape key to return input to your Mac.
Type2Phone is an app we covered early last month that is similar in functionality, but carries a $4.99 price tag. It works the same way as 1Keyboard does, which is why this app is a great free alternative.